In the past 24 hours I have turned in two 20 page papers. This means that the past few days of my life have been filled with paper writing and zero fun. Although last night I did catch the end of the Suns and Lakers game and watching the Suns beat the Lakers definitely counts as fun in my book. But anyway, after my class this morning I decided it was time to put some fun back into my life! So this afternoon I found myself driving through the Golden Canyon on my way to White Ranch Park Open Space, because hey nothing says fun like a quality trail run, right?
I was somewhat concerned that the weather was not going to cooperate, but I don’t let minor details like inclement weather deter me. Ten years of running cross country and track has resulted in me having extremely low standards for acceptable running conditions. Rain and snow? Bring it on. Freezing rain, however, is where I do draw the line. I went on a completely miserable trail run about a month ago in the freezing rain. It was a bad, bad idea. Yet, even with my low standards, the clouds today did not look promising on my drive to White Ranch, and I just kept my fingers crossed that there would be no lightning. I also draw the line at lightning, since while I may be crazy about running, I don’t have a death wish!
Luckily, when I got to White Ranch, which is a good 20 minute drive from Golden, the clouds started clearing and by the end of my run the sun was out! I know I say this every time I find a new trail but White Ranch seriously might be my new favorite place to run. Because it is so far away from Denver, which is admittedly a small drawback, you feel like you are in a completely different world. Plus there are beautiful, sweeping views across the ranch and Ponderosa pine trees everywhere, which makes the air smell heavenly. I sound like a Colorado tourism infomercial, yes. Did I mention that there were three elk crossing the trail in the middle of my run? This place is definitely the real deal.
The trails themselves also offer a lot of fun options for loop runs. I always prefer loop runs to out and backs, and White Ranch has a good collection of longer and shorter loops. For example, I did a four mile loop today, since I have the Bolder Boulder on Monday and I am just taking the week easy. As my former track coach used to say before conference meets, “The hay is in the barn.” Nothing I do this week will benefit me in the race and actually if I do too much this week it will hurt my performance. Though I must say, I use the term “easy trail run” loosely, because my four miler still included some pretty challenging hills.
These pictures do not do it justice. Trust me, it’s gorgeous! Running there was a great reward after a few days of hitting the books. Now I am ready to tackle the one paper standing between me and summer. And I am definitely rethinking those summer classes I am currently signed up for. I need a break!